12/08/2009

Many Injured In Big Dipper Crash

Thirty people have been hurt in a rollercoaster ride crash at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Riders became stranded 20ft in the air when two carriages collided on the Big Dipper after one of them became jammed on the rails on Tuesday evening.

The ambulance service said 21 casualties were taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with facial, back and neck injuries. Others who suffered minor cuts and shock were treated at the scene.

Two people had to be cut free by firefighters.

A spokesman for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said they were co-operating with the Health and Safety Executive and an investigation into the incident had begun.

The wooden rollercoaster is now closed.

Mark Alderson, Station Manager at South Shore fire station, said: "We started to evacuate the people that were trapped at the high level.

"These casualties were the 'walking wounded' and only had minor injuries.

"They were removed from the carriages and away from the incident to a casualty clearing station.

"The more seriously injured were stabilised in position, we then took the casualties from the ride in stretchers and down on to the ground level using specialist rope rescue equipment."

Blackpool Pleasure Beach attracts more than seven million customers a year.

The Big Dipper was opened in 1923.

(GK/BMcc)

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